One establishment-oriented Republican presidential candidate appears to be rising slightly ahead of the pack in the crucial first-primary state of New Hampshire.
A new poll released by the American Research Group on Tuesday found Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) with 20% support among New Hampshire primary voters. That was second only to front-runner Donald Trump, who garnered 27% in the poll.
Kasich’s lead in the poll put him 10 points ahead of the crowded poll’s third-place candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), who received 10% support in the survey.
Though Kasich’s standing above the other contenders in the ARG poll is far more pronounced than in other surveys, the governor appears to be steadily building momentum in New Hampshire.
All but one of the major polls conducted this month included in the RealClearPolitics average of recent surveys have found Kasich’s support in the double digits in the Granite State.
A Monmouth University poll released last week, for example, found Kasich tied with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for third place, with both candidates garnering 14% support. A NH1 survey released last week, meanwhile, found him tied with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) at 12% for the same spot.
Kasich initially embraced a role as a leading Trump critic. But more recently, he has been relatively muted in his rhetorical attacks Trump, focusing primarily on mobilizing support in New Hampshire.
In an interview with Time magazine, Kasich said he still has confidence that he’ll prevail in New Hampshire because of his executive experience and optimistic message.
“People will settle down and start looking for someone who is a reformer and who has accomplished things,” Kasich said. “I believe that, at the end, they will want someone who can land the plane.”
With Trump continuing to lead the pack in New Hampshire, several other candidates are vying for the crucial second-place spot. Rubio, Cruz, Bush, Kasich, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) are clumped up in the polls in what Bush himself recently described as a “jump-ball” for second.
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